Three Major Ways Pinterest's $11 Billion Valuation Might Change Your Social Media Strategy

What was once a place to collect or “pin” wedding inspirations, get-fit tips and home entertaining ideas to niche “boards” has become the next big way to target female consumers. The social networking site Pinterest recently raised $367 million, making it one of the most valued startups in the world. With a valuation of $11 billion, it’s safe to say this is not your mother’s scrapbook.

Pinterest is said to be using the recent investment to expand its reach internationally (40% of its  base is outside of the U.S.), and  develop its advertising offerings. So how will all this affect your brand’s digital strategies  -- and, most of all, its bottom line?

1. If affiliate marketing is part of your mix. In the past five years, we’ve seen the rise of bloggers-turned-businesspeople thanks to social media. Platforms not only helped spread their recommendations, but also empowered them to make a commission from reader purchases through affiliate links.



However, that segment of monetization on Pinterest has been annihilated, blocking the functionality of all affiliate links. The comprehensive ban was put into place to “enhance user experience,” according to the company. Coincidentally, though, it comes at the same time Pinterest is figuring out its own way to capitalize on its 70 million users.

This brings into question Pinterest launching its own affiliate network -- a control method akin to the Facebook algorithm shift that turned it from a veritable playground to a graveyard almost overnight.

As marketers, we can take the control back by leveraging free assets like websites, blogs, and email lists -- but also keep an eye out as Pinterest rolls out a reported “buy” button and continues testing its “Promoted Pins,” because they may end up being powerful ways to target in the future.

2. If you’ve always wondered what it would look like if Instagram and Google had a baby. 300 million Instagram users would probably agree that there's no reason to string together a bunch of words when a picture says 1,000 of them.

Still, what has become an easy form of communication has become a hard one for marketers to capitalize on. The inability to create outbound links and schedule content is just a few of the limitations on Instagram.

Pinterest can use this failing to its advantage, since it already has better search functionality than Instagram, a way to drive and measure traffic, as well as the attention of many women around the world. All it's missing is accessible ad space and a streamlined shopping process. With that, Pinterest has the potential to conquer Google as the primary search engine. Yes, really.

The notion that Pinterest may become a verb in your daily vocab may sound grandiose to some. To others, this could be the signal you need to incorporate this platform in your next great brand strategy.

3. If you leverage Pinterest for influencer campaigns.  The trend of brands leaving traditional media for social means an influx of small creative agencies on the horizon. Gone are the days of Sterling Cooper & Partners. The new Don Drapers are digital natives who can pull off a multichannel influencer activation with an offline component in their sleep.

These folks have adopted Pinterest (and other platforms) from the get-go, so they know the content, curation and influencers to work with. Soon, that will include paid media. These people will get you results because, frankly, they know things you don't.

With clients needs becoming more complex in the ever-changing digital landscape, it’s hard to pull a campaign together and then cross your fingers that people will see it. Because Pinterest can reach women in a way that no other site can, it's important to get this right  -- especially when you have a direct line of contact to the people with all of the buying power. That probably means tapping one of these new agencies.

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